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Susan Nielsen has commented on (5) products.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

Susan Nielsen, August 4, 2012

It's too bad to say so on a book that has seemed to capture the hearts of so many, but, honestly, I was so sick of this woman's rolling in her self-absorption, I nearly gave it up. If I finished the book it was because I felt I couldn't properly write a review otherwise. If you are in the mood for enhanced brooding, heart-seaching, and mapping the center of the universe, then perhaps this is the book for you. It distresses me to think that its popularity may reflect something in our national moment. Are we so depressed this kind of work passes for entertainment?

I was disappointed. Let me now go find a nice book of garden essays to repair the damage.
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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus

Susan Nielsen, November 25, 2011

The story is imaginative and engaging. The writing is a disappointment. Inelegant phrasing, jarring use of language, anachronistic dialog and details of setting... I wish it had been better told. I wish an editor had taken the writer in hand. When the reader is pulled to a stop because of poor writing, the tale halts in its progress. Soon I felt resentful and cheated. I wanted my ticket back. The circus in the book is wonderful, the tale of sinister manipulation and passionate love has terrific potential, but the characters do not shine with distinctive life, and I found myself paging back to clarify who some of them were. This is careless writing.
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Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland
Girl in Hyacinth Blue

Susan Nielsen, January 1, 2011

Beautiful prose, and completely transporting to times within the pages. The characters, so true to themselves, make the reader ache to know them more.
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Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story by Leonie Swann
Three Bags Full: A Sheep Detective Story

Susan Nielsen, January 3, 2010

What a sweet journey through the minds of a flock of sheep this book is! When they discover their shepherd murdered in the field, the flock sets out to solve the murder. Written from the point of view of the sheep themselves, this little sleeper of a novel transports the reader right into the scents, sights, fears, and (mis)understandings of a group of engaging individual sheep. You will smile, laugh outright, weep a little, and ache to read aloud to your loved one. Note also, the book is translated from German to English in one of the most competent and sensitive interpretations to sit on a shelf.
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(3 of 4 readers found this comment helpful)

Raj Quartet: The Jewel in the Crown/ The Day of the Scorpion by Paul Scott
Raj Quartet: The Jewel in the Crown/ The Day of the Scorpion

Susan Nielsen, January 29, 2008

I am so pleased to see a new edition of this complex series. My old paperback copies are frail now in their well-paged and re-read dotage. The Raj Quartet was the work that educated me in the art of the construction of a complete novel, and that brought such compelling characters and thoughts to the page that I, still in college then, spent a summer break reading all of Scott and most of E.M. Forster as well. It's evident that Scott followed Forster in his examination of the 20th Century British in India. Like in Forster, the books are more about the British facing the inconvenience of Indians in India than they are about India itself. How could the mannered and homogeneous British have begun to understand the sub-continent, teeming as it did with social divisions, religious divisions, intelligence and poverty? The answer in Scott's novels as in history reflects not only the political turmoil of WW2 and the partition period, but the inevitable destruction of personalities and relationships in the clash of unlike cultures. When Forster said, "Only connect," he posed an order impossible for the British of his time, and impossible still in the 1940's. One wonders now, in the profoundly connected 21st Century, how much we have learned about each other yet.

The Quartet really should be read as a Quintet, including the short novel "Staying On." It is such a pleasure to see the Raj Quartet released in a fine new edition.
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(5 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)

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